The Places We LivePhotographs by Jonas Bendiksen
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The year 2008 has witnessed a major shift in the way people across the world live: for the first time in human history more people live in cities than in rural areas. This triumph of the urban, however, does not entirely represent progress, as the number of people living in urban slums—often in abject conditions—will soon exceed one billion. From 2005 to 2007 Jonas Bendiksen documented life in the slums of four different cities: Nairobi, Kenya; Mumbai, India; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Caracas, Venezuela. His lyrical images capture the diversity of personal histories and outlooks found in these dense neighborhoods that, despite commonly held assumptions, are not simply places of poverty and misery. Yet, slum residents continuously face enormous challenges, such as the lack of health care, sanitation, and electricity. The Places We Live includes twenty double-gatefold images, each representing an individual home and its denizen's story. Through its innovative design and experiential approach, The Places We Live brings the modern-day Dickensian reality of these individuals into sharp focus.
A member of Magnum Photos, Jonas Bendiksen (born in Tønsberg, Norway, 1977) received the 2003 Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography, and first prize in the Pictures of the Year International Awards. His photographs have appeared in National Geographic, Geo, Newsweek, and the Sunday Times Magazine, among other publications. His bestselling first book, Satellites: Photographs from the Fringes of the Former Soviet Union, was published in 2006 by Aperture. In 2007, the Paris Review received a National Magazine Award for Bendiksen’s project “The Places We Live.”